SPORTING students at Felpham Community College have been among those making the most of a new all-weather pitch.
Heavy rainfall has failed to stop the pupils practising their skills on the long-pile 3G surface at the neighbouring Inspire Felpham Leisure Centre.
The pitch has proved the perfect place to make light of the waterlogged grounds elsewhere as the deluges continue to arrive.
John Hughes, a PE teacher at the college, said: “We can use the pitch all year round which is good considering all our sports field is out of action at the moment.
“We are playing football, rugby and hockey on it at the moment with all ages from Year 7 to sixth-formers. We’ll be using it for sprinting in the summer.
“We use it every schoolday and pretty much every minute of the day.”
The pitch also provided a more realistic surface, he said. “It’s a lot more like playing on grass and football boots can be worn on it, which wasn’t the case with the old pitch.
“Other schools which have visited us have been impressed with it, said Mr Hughes.
The pitch, with fencing and lighting, was installed last month after Arun District Council added £210,000 to £150,000 from Sport England Inspired Facilities.
It replaced a pitch which had become worn out after 20 years.
Philippa Dart, Arun’s assistant director of environmental services, told the council’s leisure, tourism and infrastructure working group last week the pitch was a big success.
“It is fully operational. The feedback is that it’s fully booked. There is a massive demand for the pitch. It’s really popular. Felpham Community College is really happy with it and using it far more,” she said.
The pitch can be used by community, football and rugby clubs. Bookings can be made for all the surface or for sections of it. Its official opening will take place in April.
Working group chairman Cllr Dr James Walsh (LD, Beach) said: “The new pitch has come into its own with this weather. Everywhere else is waterlogged.
“The previous pitch was past its sell-by-date. It was patched up and becoming hazardous, with people tripping up.”
Cllr Colin OIiver-Redgate (C, Ferring) said the pitch was a top-class facility. “This is the stuff of champions. It’s a wonderful thing.”